Suspected internal layer? Enlarged abdomenal area, 1yo BO

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Kait27, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. Kait27

    Kait27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2009
    Central Massachusetts
    First, the basics:
    1 year old Buff Orpington hen. One of four in backyard coop, only one exhibiting symptoms. Raised from day-olds from local co-op, which ordered from Mt. Healthy. No prior health issues. Began laying in November 09, laid well through winter. Free access to enclosed run and shed-coop. Eats Blue Seal Layer Pellets. Free access to food, water, calcium and grit. About 30-60 minutes of free range time in the yard each night, supervised. 4x12 enclosed dirt run, 6x3 coop with pine shavings.

    Stopped laying about six weeks ago- all four had poor production at the time, so I let it go- weather changing, extended day light hours, one broody, etc. Laying has since picked up in the healthy three. Past two weeks or so, noted she seems to be fat, but acting normal otherwise (aside from not laying.) Not surprised, they get spoiled. End of last week, started noticing she needed a few attempts to roost at night, but still acting normal. Saturday night, acting slightly depressed- still ventured out for supervised free-range time but not with usual vigor. Yesterday, Sunday, noticeable change in behavior. No interest in food or treats, doesn't come running with others when I approach. Ventures in and out of coop a few times, but mostly sits in shady corner of run, occasionally standing up. Did get her to drink some water, but she was not interested in food, scratch, BOSS or hard boiled egg. Didn't roost last night, I left her on the floor of the coop because she seemed content. Didn't rush outside this morning, but eventually made her way out to the run.

    Her abdominal area is swollen, but not rock-hard. Don't suspect egg-bound, but perhaps Internal Laying. Abdomen feels like a water balloon... large, but not rock-hard. Palpitating doesn't seem to cause discomfort, nor find anything.

    Not noticing much for strange poops... She's not segregated, but I noticed some whitish stuff on the ground below her when I was handling her yesterday. Some on her vent-area feathers as well. Not in large quantities.

    Interested in more of what I can do- Not looking to take her to a vet. Does this sound like an internal layer? Should I just wait for nature to take it's course?

    If it helps, I live in Massachusetts. It's been a pretty warm spring, but the warm up was fairly gradual and it hasn't been horribly hot the past few weeks.

    ETA: I've been reading up on BYC, and I've seen several people ask how the keel bone felt, was there significant weight loss? I've been checking her crop to make sure it's not part of the issue (it's not- small, not much in it.) I haven't noticed the keel bone being very prominent, so I don't think there's weight loss-yet. I don't know how much she ate yesterday but she wasn't interested in anything I offered. I'm going to try some sugar water tonight.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  2. mmmerz

    mmmerz New Egg

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    Jun 21, 2010
    Hi,
    Sorry to hear about your young hen's trouble. It does sound like internal laying. I had a hen with the same problem several years back and did take her to the vet, since she was my son's special friend. Unfortunately there isn't a solution to the problem unless you are willing to give her hormones to stop her egg production. You can't eat her eggs if she's treated with hormones and the treatment is ongoing and not a cure. We opted to let our girl go and buried her in front of the coop. I'm sure she is happier there than having to be given a pill every day. Good luck and don't be discouraged.
     
  3. Kait27

    Kait27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2009
    Central Massachusetts
    Thanks. I think i just wanted to hear that my suspicions are right, and that there's nothing that can really be done. If others agree this is internal laying, and there's really no simple treatment for it, it's probably best to just let nature take it's course. I also wanted to make sure this is the case and that it's nothing that can infect the others.
     
  4. Mistols

    Mistols Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 10, 2009
    Kaysville, UT
  5. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    I was doing a bit of research on calcuim and came across this;

    CalciBoost is a liquid calcium supplement for breeding and growing birds. CalciBoost has been found to be very effective as an emergency product for egg-bound hens. CalciBoost is easily absorbed and quickly gets to the bones, nerves and muscles where it is needed. If birds have not been on CalciBoost before or are showing signs of calcium/magnesium deficiency use five days a week for the first 1-2 months."

    I suggest putting her in a dark place i.e. a dog crate with a heating mat under the bottom of the grid. This will help warm her muscles and help to relax her. Also spray some type of oil around her vent.

    You can also give her electrolites/vitamins in her water to keep her strength up.

    Good luck and please keep us posted.
     
  6. Mistols

    Mistols Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 10, 2009
    Kaysville, UT
    I found this website to be helpful. http://www.browneggblueegg.com/Article/PennysSurgery/PennysSurgery.html If you scroll down to Egg Peritonitis it has a great description of what is going on. The owner of the blog saved their chicken through surgery and a hysterectomy. Sadly, I cannot afford that. I am facing the decision to euthanized or let her die slowly and naturally. Either way, I am not happy about it.

    It also sounds like this was not our fault. Like an accident happened while laying and caused this disorder.

    I hope this helps. I am so sorry.
     
  7. Kait27

    Kait27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2009
    Central Massachusetts
    Misti, I think you're right. It's just something that goes wrong internally and there's nothing you can do. I'm just waiting for nature to take its course. I got her to drink a fair amount of water tonight, and she took a few bites of yogurt from my finger. She got herself up the ramp to bed tonight, but she's sleeping on the floor. She tried to sleep under the roost, but I convinced her that wasn't a safe place and got her in a different corner. Looking back, I think it's been over 2 months since she laid, and part of me thinks I should have known that wasn't normal, but if I had known a month ago, what could I have done, other than worry? I'm not about to have a surgical hysterectomy done on a chicken, when the success rate isn't even that great. I don't think she's been feeling poorly until very recently.
    I actually found that website too, it helped to explain what's happening, and so shows how it's just a freak thing and not caused by anything.
    I worked on a farm for five years through high school and college, so i got pretty accustomed to letting nature take its course and realizing that some animals just aren't meant to survive long. My girls are pretty spoiled, so I'm pretty confident I've done them no wrong. I just hope this isn't long and drawn out.
     
  8. mmmerz

    mmmerz New Egg

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    Jun 21, 2010
    Internal laying is definitely caused by a physiological malfunction so it's surely nothing you are failing to do for your girls. The vet we took Sweetpea to see said that a hen can be born with the problem and that it can take some time for it to show itself. The vet also said that it can be caused by internal injuries and our girl was hit by a Redtail hawk at one point and survived. I'm sure that you are taking great care of your girls. This is just one of those things that we can't fix with loving care. Keep her cozy. Sorry, it's sad.

    Melissa
     
  9. Kait27

    Kait27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2009
    Central Massachusetts
    She's still hanging in there... last night I thought she was getting worse and figured that'd be it, because her breathing was getting labored... But this morning she seems a tiny bit better. She ate several bites of yogurt, more than she's eaten the past two days, and stood to drink water (she's been sitting next to the waterer since Monday night, which I suppose is the smart thing to do.) But she made some normal quiet clucking sounds, which she hasn't done since this started. I don't know if she could be improving, or if this is just the calm before the storm. Lots of animals, and even people, have a "grand finale" where they seem to improve, before finally dying.

    I was telling the girls in my knitting class last night about her, and one of them works at new england's largest veterinary care hospital, and she told me how the peritonitis is probably painful. Thanks, lady. Because I wasn't enjoying watching her suffer enough already. Who says that? Another one seemed appalled that I'm not taking it to a vet to be put down. I think it would be cruel to put her in a box and drive her somewhere, and the stress of it would probably kill her anyway.
     
  10. Mistols

    Mistols Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 10, 2009
    Kaysville, UT
    I dread going to the coop every time now. I was bringing her in at night, cleaning her up and putting her in a kennel. Then, as I kept reading up in it, and knew the inevitable would come...I decided it best to keep her with her friends.

    She was still kicking last night. I noticed my first post about her was in April. When she stopped laying. Crazy!

    My thoughts are with you. I hate this, too. And I can't bring myself to euthanize or have anyone else either!

    Misti
     

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